this is "nightline." tonight, the obama legacy. president obama's farewell address. his emotional thank yous to his family and vice president, a look back at his signature achievements. >> this morning the supreme court recognized that the constitution guarantees marriage equality. >> and his message of hope to the american people. >> yes, we did. yes, we can. thank you. plus, blackish, the comedy that dares to take on hot button issues like police brutality. and the election. >> i voted for trump. >> this obama-loving tv family confronts the future.
good evening, thank you for joining us. president obama delivering an emotional farewell address tonight, calling on the american people to stay engaged and hopeful. expressing faith in america's next generation of young leaders. tonight we reflect on his inspiring words and the legacy he leaves behind. here's abc's david wright. >> reporter: tonight in chicago -- >> hello, chicago! >> reporter: a hero's welcome for the 44th president. >> we're on live tv here, i gotta move. >> reporter: a favorite son of the windy city, now on his last lap. >> yes, our progress has been uneven. but work of democracy has always been hard. it's always been contentious. sometimes it's been bloody. for every two steps forward, it often feels, we take one step back. >> reporter: fitting that barack obama should give the last speech of his presidency here -- >> four more years!
>> i can't do that. >> reporter: chicago is the city that launched him. a junior senator on the rise, his hair darker, his kids younger. >> hello, chicago! >> reporter: hopes raised so high, he was practically destined to disappoint the audacity of hope, confronting first the gridlock of washington. >> the reforms i'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally. that's not true. >> reporter: and now the reality -- >> you're fired. >> -- of a roll back. in his exit interview with george stephanopoulos, his insisted his legacy isn't all lost. >> my hope is that the president-elect, members of congress from both parties look at where have we objectively made progress, where things are working better. don't undo things just because i did them. >> reporter: a few things he
accomplished can't be taken away. ♪ at last >> reporter: first and foremost, just being america's first black president, he made history just by winning the election. the farther we get from his honeymoon, it's easy to forget that. >> i grew up in the '70s. people thought that in your lifetime, we would never see an african american as president. i have a daughter who's 13. i don't think she remembers anything but having an african american as our president. >> reporter: christian champagne was a high school junior when he first met the president. >> he came and it was one of the greatest moments of my life. >> reporter: obama paid a visit to becoming a man, a non-profit support group, helping to bridge the opportunity gap for young man in chicago's public schools. in that circle, champagne and obama found they had something in common. they both grew up without
fathers. >> what does it mean to have a president who looks like you? >> it would be more influential. someone you could look up to, other than a sports star. but having a president that's african american and is from chicago, it gives you a big sense that you could actually make it, that the american dream is true. >> it's been a powerful symbol to have a black president, one that's long overdue, and yet, there's a sense out there, that race relations are worse now than twhen he took office. what do you make of that? >> i think when we think about that slogan, about hope and change, when i work with my young men, i tell them there's always going to be issues and things we have to think about. >> reporter: tonight obama himself acknowledged the racial divide still looms large. >> after my election, this was talk of a post-racial america. and such a vision, however well intended, was never realistic. >> reporter: another accomplishment that history books are sure to include, killing america's number one
enemy. >> the united states has conducted an operation that killed osama bin laden, the leader of al qaeda. >> reporter: but critics would say, you have to balance that against the fact that obama underestimated the threat posed by isis. his legacy, judged by what he accomplished, tends to be mixed. he fulfilled his campaign promise to turn the page from the bush years on american foreign policy, and stressed diplomacy rather than war. he re-opened a dialogue with iran and cuba. and turned a page with the arab world. >> i've come here to cairo to seek a new beginning between the united states and muslims around the world. >> reporter: obama promised to end the wars in iraq and afghanistan and technically he did, but we still have troops on the ground in both countries. american drones have killed thousands of people by remote control. the ghoul ag in guantanamo is still open for business.
the middle east, engulfed in conflict. and the prospect of peace between israel and palestine, seems now more remote than ever. domestically he's been a powerful voice when the nation mourned, channeling moral authority one mass shooting after another, after another. ♪ amazing grace >> reporter: and yet, beyond the words, beyond that spiritual, he clearly sang from the heart in charleston. what concrete measures can he point to that might reduce gun violence in the future? >> he has said that one of his biggest regrets and not being able to pass any meaningful gun control reform. and it remains one of the biggest failures of his presidency. >> he's articulated a sense of frustration and rage and disappointment, and yet he hasn't been able to do anything about it. who do we blame for that? >> i think there's a lot of people working on the problem. i'm one of the people working on
the problem. there's great testimonies and stories about people who have overcome violent outcomes. you don't necessarily hear about those. you hear about the gun shots and the violence and the bloodshed. >> reporter: other things obama did accomplish or influence are now under threat. >> this morning the supreme court recognized that the constitution guarantees marriage equality. >> reporter: his turnaround on the topic helped make lgbt struggles mainstream. and obamacare, now at the mercy of the man obama felt free to mock just a few years ago. >> no one is happier, no one is prouder to put this birth certificate issue to rest than the donald. that's because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter. like, did we fake the moon
landing? [ laughter ] what really happened in roswell? and where are biggie and tupac? [ laughter ] >> reporter: trump has made it clear, the first issue he'll target is obama's biggest domestic accomplishment. >> we're going to repeal and replace obamacare. we have no choice. >> michelle? >> reporter: tonight, the president couldn't help but get emotional, with a special shout-out to the first lady. >> for the past 25 years, you have not only been my wife and mother of my children, you have been my best friend. you have made me proud, and you have made the country proud. >> reporter: a new poll finds obama is going out on a high note. his highest approval rating in seven years, 55%, as he gets set to retire. meanwhile, 51% disapprove of trump's performance so far as
president-elect. but 52% say they're optimistic. >> god bless you, and may god bless the united states of america! >> reporter: change can be healthy. obama proved that eight years ago, and reminded his supporters tonight to keep an open mind. >> you believe in a fair and just and inclusive america. you know that constant change has been america's hallmark, that it's not something to fear, but something to embrace. you are willing to carry this hard work of democracy forward. you'll soon outnumber all of us, and i believe as a result, the future is in good hands. >> reporter: soon enough, we'll see if the new guy is offering change for the better. for better or worse, in our system, there are limits to how much any one man can do. obama proved that too. i'm david wright for "nightline" in chicago. ♪
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♪ if there's one sitcom fearless enough to take on issues like police brutality and the election, it's abc's "black-ish," the show has been unapologetic in his candor from the beginning. so much so that even president-elect donald trump once suggested it was politically incorrect. it turns out the show's stars and creator are just as outspoken. ♪ how do i say goodbye to
we had ♪ >> reporter: anthony anderson's character on "black-ish" is mourning the final days of the obama administration. >> so this is why you took a sick day from work, to make a slide show? >> what happens when the winners and the losers are supposed to be on the same team? >> reporter: this week's episode leaps head first into the tension surrounding the pleakz. >> seriously? what happens? >> reporter: the johnson family is floored by the surprise election of donald trump. >> why aren't you guys dressed for school? >> we don't have school today. >> they gave us a day of reflection. >> reporter: anderson plays dre, a los angeles ad executive and father of four. >> the family is watching the election results come in and there is sheer devastation on their faces, to donald trump's election. is that something you experienced when you watched it, or were you that surprised? >> sheer devastation? no, i'm not going to say i
experienced that, but sheer surprise, yes. the people voted. he resonated with a lot of americans who were looking for change and felt this was the person that could bring them what they wanted. >> reporter: it's not the first time the abc comedy has taken on hot-button issues. like whether it's ever appropriate to use the n word. ♪ ♪ she ain't messing with no broke [ muted ] ♪ >> reporter: and the complicated reality surrounding police brutality. >> obviously i am anti-police brutality. wh but that doesn't mean i have to be anti-police. >> reporter: the show's creator. why an episode on the election? >> i woke up wednesday morning and i was like, i gotta write something. i came into work and the thing that led up to it, the kf conversations around the table. >> reporter: what he was hearing in his world, shock and outrage
over the election of trump. a man many assumed would lose to hillary clinton. >> i voted for trump. >> oh, my god! >> reporter: does donald trump's election scare you? >> no. we all have to come together and fight for what we believe is right, what we believe is fair. >> some people want to put their head in the sand and think it's going to go away. and it's not. >> how is this our fault? >> if you all had turned out for hillary, the way you turned out for barack obama. >> reporter: dray and his colleagues explore in tomorrow night's episode about what motivate the trump supporters. >> there's all this yapity yap about a first female president, and you don't show up! >> of course i want a female president, i just didn't want it to be here. >> reporter: you heard from every perspective? >> not everyone that we interact with in our live is of the same accord and that should reflect on the stories we tell on our
shows. >> reporter: "black-ish" has been on donald trump's radar for a while. when the show laurched in 2014, he tweeted, how is abc television allowed to have a show entitled "black-ish"? can you imagine a show entitled "white-ish"? racism at its highest level. >> if you look at the landscape of television, you don't have to have a show called whitish, because that's what network television was or has been for quite some time. we rarely get to it tell our stories. >> did you think there was something legitimate to donald trump saying this is racism at its highest? >> no, much as i don't agree with much of what he's saying. >> reporter: blackish has distinguished itself by tackling controversy through humor. tracy ellis ross wears her frustration over the election on her sleeve. >> what's going on, dude? seriously?
>> what? >> everything you're wearing is from an npr commercial. >> she's wearing all the swag. >> i'm spinning out of control, unclear on how to respond to what i'm feeling. >> habitat for humanity sweat pants. >> what i like about my character, like i didn't do christmas gifts this year. i donated to planned parenthood and the aclu. >> reporter: jennifer lewis made waves leading up to the election releasing a video on her facebook page with an aggressive get out the vote campaign. ♪ ♪ >> reporter: how real did that feel to you on this set? >> it was very emotional for me. it was not easy to react with the four children sitting next to me on that sofa. i'm ashamed of what we've left them. >> reporter: the four young actors on the show say working on a series that takes on real-life issues empowers them. >> we learned a lot of things from "black-ish," like police
brutality, the election, and usually stuff that you wouldn't think kids our age would actually know. >> having a show that is intentionally socially aware, it helps foster your own awareness opinion. >> within yourself. >> yes. >> it's very cool because our show, i think we definitely talk about a lot of these social issues and we get to learn about different people throughout history, and it definitely awakens your interest in those kinds of things. >> reporter: the kids on this show have grown up for eight years with a black president. >> yeah, they grew up in a situation with a black family in the white house, jay-z and beyonce, king of the world. so this is the first time they get to say, oh, the rubber hits the road. >> reporter: will "black-ish" continue to explore subjects around maybe this new administration? >> i'm sure we will find some interesting ways to tackle this subject. >> reporter: for "nightline," i'm deborah roberts in burbank, california. and next, can you believe somebody married this clown?
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♪ and finally tonight, a happy meal for a happy occasion. >> do you want fries with that ring? one bride-to-be got some when her groom and groomsmen delivered a size of supersize surprises. the stunt caused a mcflurry of laughter in a southeast asian tradition known as the fetching of the bride. the groom is tasked with finding often embarrassing acts before they can wed. the groom didn't chicken out. we wish them many happy years of marriage. >> how sweet is that. it was american writer mindy mclaughin who said a successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. thank you for watching abc news, and as always, we're online at